MT103 SWIFT message with optional fields 52a and 57a – Part 1

The MT103 SWIFT message with optional fields 52a (Ordering institution) and 57a (Account with institution) is presented and analyzed in this article. In previous articles, the basic MT103 SWIFT message with mandatory fields and the MT103 SWIFT Message with optional fields 53B, 70 and 71G were considered. Read them to get additional information and a better understanding of the MT103 SWIFT Message.

The picture below shows the main actors and highlights the optional fields transported in the messages.

Image of MT103 SWIFT with fields 52a and 57a

MT103 SWIFT Message with fields 52a and 57a

The table below contains information that is highlighted in the examples provided in the SWIFT Message Reference Guide. An additionl column (comments) provides further explanation on the fields to ease their understanding.

Read this page on the SWIFT formatting rules and Character sets of MT Messages to get additional information and understand what 16x, 4!c and the format of the field options mean.

Narratives and notes on this MT103 SWIFT Message

As usual, there is more in this MT103 SWIFT message than meets the eye. The following narrative and notes allow to get a deeper understanding of the message content.

Narrative and note 1 (Main purpose of this MT103 SWIFT message)

The Sender (BNPAFRPP) is asking Receiver (PNBPUS3N) to debit sender’s account and credit the account of the Bank (OCBCSGSG) indicated in tag 57A.

This indicates that Sender and Beneficiary customer’s Bank do not have direct account relationship in the currency of the transaction (USD).  Otherwise the sender would send the message directly to the beneficiary customer’s Bank.

Narrative and note 2

The ordering institution (Tag 52D) is provided in the MT103 SWIFT Message. This means the ordering customer is not customer of the Sender. BNPAFRPP sends the MT103 on behalf of the ordering institution 52D:BANQUE DELUBAC ET CIE.

BANQUE DELUBAC ET CIE is a small bank that has an agreement with a major bank (BNP PARIBAS) for the processing and settlement of currency transactions. BANQUE DELUBAC ET CIE can then use the correspondent network of BNP PARIBAS.

Narrative and note 3 (Account relationships)

  • Sender (BNPAFRPP) has an account relationship with Receiver (PNBPUS3N) in USD currency.
  • Receiver (PNBPUS3N) is correspondent of both sender (BNPAFRPP) and Beneficiary Bank (57A:OCBCSGSG) in USD currency. PNBPUS3N can debit BNPAFRPP account and credit OCBCSGSG account.
  • Ordering Customer account (:50F:/01234567890) is opened with Ordering Institution (52D:BANQUE DELUBAC ET CIE).

Narrative and note 4

Details of charges (Tag 71A) is SHA. The charges are shared between Ordering and beneficiary customers.  Sender pays charges to the ordering bank. Beneficiary pays charges to the receiving bank.

It is always interesting to see how much can be said about an MT103 SWIFT message like this one. But the message has not reached the final destination yet (57A:OCBCSGSG). The receiver (PNBPUS3N) must forward it to the beneficiary’s bank. What are the differences between this message and the next one (that PNBPUS3N will forward to OCBCSGSG)? What does that message contain and what are the meaning of the different message elements? These questions will be answered in the next article.

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34 Responses to MT103 SWIFT message with optional fields 52a and 57a – Part 1

  1. Sridhar December 17, 2018 at 3:17 am #

    Nice, you can structure out of MT103 format as well with Incoming and Outgoing SWIFT 103 payments

    • Jean Paul December 17, 2018 at 3:20 pm #

      Yes. Depending on the direction, if the payment is sent to the SWIFT network or receive from the SWIFT network, the block 2 content is different. See the block 2 page.

  2. Aditya December 25, 2018 at 4:55 pm #

    From the ordering institution was this message sent as Mt101 to sender ?
    if there was no direct relationship between sender and actual receiver bank(where account of beneficiary exists) then why receiver correspondent was not used ?
    I am new to payments can you please provide clarification over the above questions ?

    • Jean Paul December 25, 2018 at 9:12 pm #

      First question: The ordering institution received an instruction form its customer through MT101 or through other means like E-banking, Teller and so on.
      Read my articles about MT101 to understand how that message is used.
      The actual transfer is carried out with an MT103 message between financial institutions.
      Second question: The receiver correspondent is used. However, in this particular case, sender and receiver correspondents are the same.
      I hope it clarifies a bit.

  3. aditya December 26, 2018 at 6:29 am #

    Tag53a consists of sender correspondent , Tag54a consists of details about receiver correspondent , but that tag is empty in the message ??

    • Jean Paul December 30, 2018 at 11:12 pm #

      Yes neither of the tags is present in the message, because it is a serial message. Please read the article about Serial and cover payments.

      • aditya January 2, 2019 at 8:06 am #

        I read the article , i want to ask why receiver correspondent is not stored in Tag56a.

        • Jean Paul January 2, 2019 at 9:44 pm #

          Ok I got it. It is simply because the receiver of this message is the receiver correspondent itself.
          So no need to mention it again in the message. He knows he is the receiver’s correpondent and what to do with the message.
          I hope this helps. 🙂

          • ANA December 14, 2020 at 6:06 pm #

            Jean Paul, you are simply great !!! you have answers to everything 🙂 , i am very fortunate to have mentor like you !!

  4. Balaji January 28, 2019 at 6:21 am #

    What is the role of 56 in an MT103? That is, who does it pass on the payment to, 54 or 57 or 53?

    • Jean Paul January 28, 2019 at 12:08 pm #

      F56 sends to payment to F57. See article about Serial and Cover payments.

  5. Chris February 8, 2019 at 9:19 pm #


    Why is tag 57 (bnf bank) an optional field (as per SWIFT standards)?

    • Jean Paul February 11, 2019 at 1:22 pm #

      Hi Chris,
      You find the response in the SWIFT standards. Under the usage rules of Field 57a: Account With Institution, you read the following:”When field 57a is not present, it means that the Receiver is also the account with institution.” So if you send the payment directly to the receiver that is also the Account With Institution, no need to mention the field 57. Let me know if you have further question.

  6. Chris February 11, 2019 at 4:16 pm #

    Thank you. That makes sense.

    However, the sender and receiver info is usually not located in block 4. So the operator creating the message should be aware that the receiver and the account with institution are the same…..correct?

    • Jean Paul February 11, 2019 at 8:39 pm #

      True. Sender and receiver info are not provided in the block 4. Operators should be aware of it definitely even if well designed payment engine softwares can be of great help in guiding the end users.

  7. Sai Mahesh February 12, 2019 at 5:58 am #

    The content published is very good. It gives a very good and practical view of what fits where and why. Much appreciated!!

    • Jean Paul February 12, 2019 at 9:38 am #

      Hi Sai, 🙂
      Thank you for your nice comment!
      Enjoy the reading and do not hesitate to share your remarks or ask questions. I would appreciate to support.

  8. Prasad April 17, 2019 at 2:32 am #

    Hi Paul. In Block 2 (Application Header) the field input/output id , here from the above picture BNP Paribas sending a MT103 message to the correspondent bank, is it the Input message? or the output message?

  9. Varsha May 13, 2019 at 7:35 am #

    Hi Paul, Thanks for the above examples
    Im stuck with the usage of Clearing system codes in 57A and 57D can you please help me out?

    • Jean Paul May 13, 2019 at 9:43 am #

      Hi Varsha,

      Here is the link to the specifications.
      Please tell me where you are stuck and I will see how I can help.

      Thanks, Jean Paul

  10. Sathya s September 25, 2019 at 7:30 am #


    If I want to use the National ID in Tag 57 and 58 , can you guide me how to use it whether it can be used in A, B , C And D option

  11. Jagadish Vema January 24, 2020 at 5:59 am #

    Hi Jean,

    What are the valid values that can be passed in Party Identifier Tag 57 B option?
    Can a BIC be passed with // in Tag 57B Party identifier?

    Thanks in Advance

    • Jean Paul January 24, 2020 at 11:06 pm #

      Hi Jagadish,
      Option B is very seldom used. Personally I have never seen it in practice. Now the answer to your questions.
      1st question:
      Option B [/1!a][/34x](Party Identifier) – This is generally an account number.
      [35x](Location) – Location of the account with institution.
      Second question: I would say NO. The standard does not say that. If you want to use the BIC, use option A.
      Best regards, Jean Paul

      • Khushboo December 3, 2020 at 10:09 am #

        This account number is nostro account or customer account number ?

  12. Paresh March 31, 2020 at 8:39 am #

    what is [1!a] in field 52 party identifier. Does it mean /C/ or /D/ followed by account no.?

    • Jean Paul April 12, 2020 at 8:55 pm #

      Hi Paresh, Yes it does. And [1!a] exists in many other fields. However, this is almost never used in practice. It is sufficient just to provide the account as the message tells the receiving party what should happen, if the account is to be debited or credited.

  13. Lady July 29, 2020 at 10:39 am #

    Hi, can I use tag 53 and 57 in 103swift message ? ( bank xxx (me) gives instructions for his corresponding bank (sss) to debit his account, and credit bank (ddd) on his bistro account in bank(sss) for benefit. company (59f) , or I need to use 53-54 and write that:
    53: /sss
    //senders cor account number
    54: /sss
    //receivers cor account number
    59: company

    / senders acc
    57: /ddd
    Thanks for answering

  14. TKS September 3, 2020 at 10:23 am #

    In 57 Tag option D, its not necessary to pass a routing code. It could just contain bank’s name and address
    :57D:ABC BANK

    Is this correct understanding

    • Jean Paul September 14, 2020 at 8:40 pm #

      Hi, You are correct. [/1!a][/34x] means they are optional.

  15. Ben November 6, 2020 at 3:29 am #

    Hi, when instructing an MT103 payment as a custodian, in which the initiator of the transaction is a 3rd party Investment Manager instructing as an authorised agent of the custodian’s contractual client, who should be in 50F – Ordering Customer and Field 52 – Ordering Institution.

    Is the Ordering Customer the custodian’s contractual client, and the Ordering Institution the BIC of the Investment Manager?

  16. dilaver February 10, 2021 at 8:23 am #

    what if in the swift there is no 57a only 56a ? what does it mean ?

  17. Rossitsa April 23, 2021 at 10:42 am #

    Hi Jean Paul,

    Do you know what is the exact meaning of the /B4/F57_ALTE/F57_4. It is an explanation of the error T34 from MT103, firld 57A.

    Thank you in advance,


  18. Winston Fortuin June 2, 2021 at 7:51 am #

    Just wanted to know if BIC CABLAZJJ was mentioned, in the field of 57A client of Capitec Bank, South America Africa/Cape Town-Western Cape.?

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